We are developing the social individualist meta-context for the future. From the very serious to the extremely frivolous... lets see what is on the mind of the Samizdata people.

Samizdata, derived from Samizdat /n. - a system of clandestine publication of banned literature in the USSR [Russ.,= self-publishing house]

This was a Guardian article ??? !!!

An article titled

Abuse, intimidation, death threats: the vicious backlash facing former vegans

would be no surprise on several sites I read – but to find it in the Guardian!! It’s enough to have me call it the Guardian instead of the Grauniad in the rest of this post. 🙂

The article is more nuanced than its title might suggest. Maybe these apostates just need better advice on vegan diets – advice that might include admitting the odd issue with veganism. Maybe discussion would reclaim them better than hatred. And besides, never forget – being vegan is good for our planet’s health.

But although reading it through gives you all that balance (some might call it ‘balance’), the article starts with specific examples of what its title promises, and reports those who say that, whatever their vegan diet did for Gaia’s health, it did much less than nothing for their own. It also quotes one of the ‘balancing’ people saying veganism is “like a religion” for her.

Analogies to how the trans-mafia treats those with trans-regret, or how a certain actual religion is commanded by its prophet to treat its apostates, occurred to me. If they occurred to Guardian editors, the article does not let on. I could sort-of respect a focus on staying on-topic, especially while enduring the knowledge that allowing the article meant they would occur to readers. There again, I never saw reading the Guardian as helping its readers or editors spot such analogies. But who knows.

Why people willingly give up their freedoms

A very interesting perspective on where we are now by Mattias Desmet. Well worth the time.

Adam Smith: Father of the Fringe on YouTube

Incoming from Dominic Frisby:

The YouTube premiere of our feature documentary Adam Smith: Father of the Fringe will take place this Sunday evening at 7pm and you are invited to join. I hope you can make it. If you can’t fear not, the film will remain on YouTube thereafter, so you’ll still be able to watch. We’ll leave it on there until some broadcaster with deep pockets wants to broadcast it.

See also my previous post about this.

Samizdata quote of the day

At this point, I’d feel more comfortable if Covid hosted a press conference on how to protect us from the government.

Zuby

Time for a word cull

As we enter the final month of 2021 – the year of Sleepy Joe, Boris “Peppa Pig” Johnson and snarling M. Macron, there are a few words and expressions that I’d like to see the back of. Feel free to add your own to the shit-list:

Build back better;
Great Reset;
Sustainability;
Diversity, Equity and Inclusion;
Client-Centric;
It is what it is;
She’s a strong, independent woman;
Toxic masculinity;
Levelling up;
Hard-working families (what’s wrong with a bit of indolence, occasionally?);
Our NHS;
Taking a holistic view;
The view from the trenches;
Key worker (which begs the question of what everyone else has to do or be compelled to do);
Let’s hop into this (boing!);
Agile (everyone is a sodding gymnast now);
A solutions provider;
Reality-based.

Meanwhile back in the EU

Old rules die, new ones are born.

Belarus border crisis: EU suspends asylum rules to speed up deportations

Omicron variant: EU should encourage compulsory vaccines, says Ursula von der Leyen

Both Times reports are behind a paywall, but the headlines make the point well enough.

As the late Brian Micklethwait – I still cannot quite believe that I am writing that – said in a post called “On the future of photography in public (and on what I think of the EU)”:

The way the EU works is that at any one time EU-ers propose a million laws, and the winning laws are the ones that nobody objects to. If anyone at all persuasive does object to any particular law, then the plan is dropped, with a charming smile, and put to one side for another go in a few years time. No no no, you misunderstood entirely what we were talking about. We never had any intention of doing what we previously did intend to do if nobody had complained! Fuss about nothing! Europhobic scaremongering! Why do you hate foreigners?

Samizdata quote of the day

People tend to believe things that further their personal interests, and universities are no exception. Wokification succeeded largely because it gave a lot of different people a lot of different things that they wanted. It gave the increasingly powerful university administration a reason to hire more administrators to manage diversity and ensure its forward march. Self-propagation is the highest goal of administrators everywhere. Wokeness also became a useful tool in ongoing turf wars between administrators and faculty. Diversity is a simple metric via which the administration can interfere with faculty hiring and academic operations; new diversity hires know who is buttering their bread and remain loyal to the administrators whose policies brought them in. For the increasingly mediocre and incapable faculty who now teach at even the most august American schools, the woke circus has its own attractions. It provides distraction from the unrelenting demands of objectivity and originality, and permits a pleasing, self-righteous indulgence in moral scolding. In Woke Studies, the answers are always predetermined and it is very easy to get anything published, provided you say the right things. For students, Wokeness has still other attractions—as a font of easy coursework, as an opportunity for social networking, and as a locus for the periodic ritual entertainment of false moral outrages and protests.

– The indispensable Eugyppius

Samizdata quote of the day

In recent times, the common courtesy of trying to avoid wantonly stepping on people’s toes has developed into an editorial phobia of almost psychotic intensity.

This exaggerated concern for the tender toe has, of course, been vociferously encouraged by every sort of hypersensitive minority. The most frantic form of it is displayed by movie producers, who are more sensitive to the tinkle of the cash register than any other species of artistic entrepreneur, and who also know they are catering for a more infantile audience than any other medium other than television.

…Even on the domestic scene, Negroes, Chinese, Jews, Catholics, Baptists or Holy Rollers, can only be depicted as lovable paragons. It has reached the point where the only villain who can be safely used to-day is a white American or British agnostic, preferably named Smith.

– Leslie Charteris, The Second Saint Omnibus, Hodder & Stoughton: London, 1952, p55. No I don’t know what a Holy Roller is either. This volume came into my possession as a result of the Plunder Party on Friday night in which a number of us gathered at the late Brian Micklethwait’s flat to pillage and loot his book and CD collection. Judging by the rather full shelves when I left, libertarians are unlikely to make good Vikings. Mind you, I am told there were some 5,200 books to choose from.

Free market squirrel

Buitengebieden tweets, “This squirrel always brings dried seed to trade for some nuts..”

I have put this under the category of “Twitter nonsense” because we have no category for “Twitter video that is so adorable that gratitude for it almost makes me hope that Jack Dorsey succeeds in his attempt to escape the righteous vengeance of the populace.”

ξ Who Must Not Be Named

As explained by the Wikipedia article on the official nomenclature for variants of SARS-CoV-2, the use of letters of the Greek alphabet to refer to the different variants of Covid-19 was chosen by the World Health Organization specifically to avoid referring to variants by their country of origin, as practised by certain naughty former US presidents. We have had the Alpha, Beta, Gamma, Delta, Epsilon, Zeta, Eta, Theta, Iota, Kappa, Lambda, Mu and Nu variants.

I guess the WHO didn’t anticipate the list would go past thirteen.

“Omicron variant reaches Britain”, reports today’s Sunday Times.

Only the fourteenth letter of the Greek alphabet is not Omicron. It’s Xi.

Edit: In the comments TomJ says that actually two letters have been skipped. The variant all the papers were calling “Nu” the day before yesterday was hastily renamed “Omicron”. Allegedly they jumped over “Nu” because it sounds like “new” and they jumped over have “Xi” because it is a common surname, a story to which I might give an iota of credence if it came from someone other than the World Health Organisation. The excellent investigation by the Sunday Times Insight Team, China, the WHO and the power grab that fuelled a pandemic, is unfortunately behind a paywall, but here is an excerpt:

Our investigation reveals today how a concerted campaign over many years by Beijing to grab power inside the WHO appears to have fatally compromised its ability to respond to the crisis. It raises serious concerns about the extent of Beijing’s influence over the WHO and its director-general, and how this undermined the organisation’s capacity — and willingness — to take the steps necessary to avert a global pandemic. Its leadership put China’s economic interests before public health concerns. The results have been nothing short of catastrophic.

The Xi variant, indeed. Pity there isn’t a Greek letter called Pu.

The Scarlet Letter

Although Boris’ letter is written in the most friendly and amiable manner towards Emmanuel and the EU generally, and its references to earlier discussions between them are phrased in a very positive way, I can make a guess at why Boris thought continuing the discussion somewhat more in the public gaze was a good idea. I can likewise make a guess at why this allowing the public a look at what is happening made Macron furious enough to cancel today the meetings agreed to yesterday.

However that is not the point of my post (but commenters are welcome to spread themselves on that subject if they wish). I want to discuss the letter itself. Overtly, everything in it is about the wicked people smugglers and their poor trafficked victims. I was reminded of ‘war on drugs’ rhetoric, typically eager to focus blame on evil pushers, not victimised addicts.

In the war on drugs, that way of looking at things is not always and only spin.

– I knew a woman whose life took a very different turn from anything she’d expected. She chanced to encounter a young drug addict – let’s call her Moira (not her name) in this post – whose family and friends, after trying very hard, had finally despaired of her. It became indisputably clear to my friend that either someone would work a miracle or Moira would be dead within a few months at most. Where ninety-nine in a hundred would have walked by on the other side, my friend took Moira into her own house and gave her that unconditional love that is so very much more often preached than practised. A few months later, Moira was clean – and stayed so. My friend went back to her old life, thinking, “that was weird” – but less than a year later she was confronted by a family quite literally on their knees before her, begging her to do for their daughter the miracle she had achieved for Moira. They were not the last to do so. Thus, gradually, not intending it, she discovered her vocation was to redeem drug addicts, one at a time. She had her successes and her failures. In the end, she become someone whom social work directors and suchlike government figures consulted – though she seemed to feel her hard-won, very tough-minded experience was more apt to shock than to change their fashionable theories.

– For years, a former neighbour went with his evangelical church group into Glasgow on Saturday nights, offering coffee and food, and encouragement to get out of that life, to any hookers-cum-addicts willing to visit their bus. There were funny incidents – one girl (still in her hooker’s outfit) came to his church, threw her arms around him and kissed him, gushing about how he had (physically and morally) saved her. “Does you wife know about this kind of thing?”, asked a staid member of the congregation. There were horrible incidents. Week after week, one girl came to argue them down, to tell the other girls not to fall for all this Jesus stuff. Then, one evening, when others were momentarily elsewhere, she quietly told him, “I know you think I’m horrible and hopeless, but actually I am listening”. A week later, she was dead – murdered. She was a nobody in her world – but knew too much to be let leave it. Where my friend thought he’d been urging her to resist temptation and failing – actually, she’d been fighting the temptation to risk trying.

These of course, are the exceptions – the miracles. We all know who else populate the drug addict world: people who give convincing impressions of having sold their souls and paid up; misery that loves company and inflicts it with psychopathic indifference; people who stopped being victims long ago. In between, there are those who are simultaneously both. One Saturday night, an honest policeman asked my old neighbour, “Why do you waste your time on such people?” – and had no lack of illustrative examples.

It’s the same in the people-trafficked world. The trafficked are a complicit commodity – and you can place great emphasis on both those words. This guy came to the UK to loot the welfare state and steal the rest of what he’d promised to his traffickers – knowing that his family back in Syria were his traffickers’ security. When being caught delayed his ability to pay them, they pimped out his wife and kids – whereupon he gave a strong proof that he was genuinely upset about that. Like some German officer late in WWII, aware that too swift a surrender might be revenged on his family, or some Soviet cold-war agent of influence who knew with certainty what Stalin would do to his family if he defected, the trafficked can be simultaneously enemies of the UK and victims of its more powerful enemies.

With that background under our belt, let’s return to the letter. I don’t care for the cautious deference Boris’ phrasing shows to “right-think” (i.e. left-think), with all the blame thrown on the traffickers and none on the illegal migrants. But the letter does challenge the far filthier PC narrative of ‘asylum seekers’, with the true nature of this political, commercial and above-all criminal operation not even mentioned to deny it, but just insolently ignored. Against that, I welcome the publicity Macron’s tantrum will give Boris’ letter. It’s a step towards wider understanding; may it start a journey.

Samizdata quote of the day

Yet perhaps the most critical difference between traditional socialism and its new form relates to growth. The New Socialism’s emphasis on climate change necessarily removes economic growth as a priority. Quite the opposite, in fact: the Green agenda looks instead towards a shrinking economy and lowered living standards, seeking to elevate favoured groups within a stagnant economy rather than generating opportunities for the general population.

Joel Kotkin, in an article riddled with laughable notions mixed with on-the-money observations.